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Comment Re: No problem (Score 1) 458

No it isn't. Absolutely nothing stops ad blockers using heuristics to identify "ad shaped images" or simply having manually written lists of DOM paths to nuke.

I find this whole attitude of "shut up whiners, make your ads EXACTLY meet my unique criteria or else I'll just benefit from your work for free - see if you can stop my nya nya" to be appalling.

Apparently people haven't thought through where this ends. It ends with someone eventually making a non-web content platform that doesn't support ad killers, uses video-game like "anti cheat" techniques and which gets the lions share of the best content because publishers are sick of being ripped off. You know, kind of like how the PC used to be the primary gaming platform in the world and eventually most of the AAA games were coming out on consoles first, and PC maybe or never. Basically, because of piracy and the console makers commitment to fighting it.

Comment Re:Cheap foreign helium atoms (Score 1) 288

I don't know about you, but I'm not getting any cheap, shoddily made helium atoms.

I'm with you. I always buy the Morton Salt at the grocery store because they use only premium sodium atoms. Also, some cheaper salt is made from chlorine atoms that are scavenged from public swimming pool water, basically old and worn out.

Comment This is why you save. (Score 0) 200

Listen up, kiddos. This is why you save your money from day 1 after you graduate. Forget the new beemer, swank apartment, and $50 bottles of vodka. From the day you graduate you should be stuffing as much as your income as you can into a tax-advantaged plan, and an equal amount to liquid investments (including a Roth).

You lived like a poor college student until you graduated, and so there's nothing wrong with living like a slightly less poor college student. That way, when something like this happens, you can be the hero who says "fuck you, you can keep your severance," and then head right over to the local TV station to spill all of the beans.

Freedom isn't free. When you take your $70K/year out of college and blow it on a nice car, a party lifestyle, and expensive booze, you should not be surprised to find yourselves in shackles eventually.

Comment It is still a net energy loser (Score 1) 134

Because, you know, thermodynamics.

Methanol has more chemical potential energy than CO2, and that energy must come from somewhere. This is the same unicorn fantasy that the "water as fuel" people constantly buy into.

Sure, you can sequester CO2 from the atmosphere and turn it into combustible fuel, but you're going to spend a lot of energy to do it when there is a perfectly natural process for doing so, called "planting trees."

Comment Re:You CAN'T have ads without tracking. (Score 1) 346

It could very easily happen, by enforcing blocking rules that restrict or eliminate third party content.

That won't work. Even if you don't communicate directly with the third party, you don't have any way to prevent the content provider (who is also the ad provider from your point of view) from passing the information along.

We seem to have latched onto this "third party content" as The Problem, where it's really just a hack du jour for easily spotting a problem. But the only reason a content provider is putting <script src="somewhere else"> into their pages is because it still gets them paid by the "somewhere else." If you hit their own server instead of the third party, they can still forward any requests behind the scenes to anyone, and you won't even know it's happening, but all the same information will be there.

If you eliminate "third party content" you're just going to turn second parties into proxies. And they'll really do it, too. Why wouldn't they?

Earth

Carbon Dioxide From the Air Converted Into Methanol (gizmag.com) 134

Zothecula writes: The danger posed by rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide has seen many schemes proposed to remove a proportion it from the air. Rather than simply capture this greenhouse gas and bury it in the ground, though, many experiments have managed to transform CO2 into useful things like carbon nanofibers or even fuels, such as diesel. Unfortunately, the over-arching problem with many of these conversions is the particularly high operating temperatures that require counterproductive amounts of energy to produce relatively low yields of fuel. Now researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) claim to have devised a way to take CO2 directly from the air and convert it into methanol using much lower temperatures and in a correspondingly simpler way.

Comment Re:Roll-back as in play-back? (Score 2) 69

Banks can roll back transactions for various reasons, e.g. bankruptcy proceedings, mistakes by their own operators or by customers, or ... transactions that are fraudulent. The Metel gang obviously had a sense of irony in exploiting this ability to undo fraudulent transactions to their own benefit.

Comment You CAN'T have ads without tracking. (Score 2) 346

That's never going to happen, so people who think that a compromise might some day be reached, need to let go of that.

Some of the things on the list are extremely easy because the browser itself is ultimately in control. If you don't want animation, for example, then your browser can elect to not animate things. Same for playing sound, executing Javascript, 10kb limit, etc. You're going to get your wish on all of that stuff, assuming you haven't already gotten it already.

But tracking isn't going to go away. Your computer is initiating a conversation with someone else's computer, and there's only one thing you can do to prevent someone else's computer from remembering that it happened: have there be nothing to remember, because nothing happened. i.e. don't request the ad.

If you get the ad, then you get tracking, period. There is no possible compromise between the two sides on this, and everyone who thinks they can have ads but no tracking, is kidding themselves.

Either the ad industry is going to persuade us that tracking isn't all that bad, or the users are going to persuade the media that ads aren't all that necessary. No middle ground exists on this.

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